Wednesday, September 30, 2015

This Is Where It Ends

This Is Where It Ends
by Marieke Nijkamp

In less than one hour, the world can change.

In less than one hour, your life can end.

In less than one hour, all you know can be gone forever.

When one senior decides that he has nothing left to live for, he decides that no one else has a reason to live, either.

With a few locked doors after an assembly, he has the ability to let everyone know how alone he feels by making them feel alone, too.

There are four students who know the shooter and these are their stories.

Final thoughts: It's hard to tell what I feel about this one. The story is gripping and the characters are interesting, but some of the choices made by the author to advance the plot just seem very strange. Shots are fired. The people out on the track have no cell phones, so they run in different directions off campus to try and find a phone and call the police. When a pair are intercepted by the police on the road, the officer brings them BACK to the school?!?!  What!?  No. Not gonna happen. Most of the things that happened with that particular character were odd and unbelievable. However, those things that were happening in the school itself were much more realistic. While the shooters motives are a little hard to understand, since we don't get his perspective, the victims make sense. I can see teens loving this book, especially if paired with Hate List, by Jennifer Brown. But this does have triggers in it and is NOT a good fit for abuse victims or those suffering from PTSD.

Rating: 3.5/5

Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Losers Take All

Losers Take All
by David Klass

The sudden death of a legendary high school principal means a new man is brought in with new ideas to make that school great.

Unfortunately, that new man is the head coach of the championship football team and his idea of a great school is one where every team wins all the time.  He can't stand the idea of any student not being on a team and contributing to the success of the school. So he decides to make a new rule that ALL seniors MUST be on a sports team.

For Jack Logan, the third son of the greatest football star in the history of Fremont High, that means he's destined for the football team, whether he wants it or not.

Jack chooses not.

Jack has no interest in being tackled repeatedly, losing teeth and brain cells.  Instead, he and a group of friends create a C-team for soccer that they nickname The Losers. Their goal is to lose all five games of their season and make a point about forcing people into sports.

What Jack didn't count on was how social media would propel their losing team into a winning spotlight, with support from around the country from the victims of bullies and haters of sports everywhere.

Now Jack and his friends must find a way to lose games without losing everything they've fought for.

Final thoughts: Definitely a book for people who actually like sports, which seems strange considering the message. Klass writes like a sports writer for a newspaper, with descriptive passages about the action and the games. Unfortunately, as a non-sports person, I often got lost within the descriptions and terminology, but that didn't really take from the overall feeling of the book itself. Jack is likeable and the principal/coach is a classic villain. Jack's parents and friends are definite people and not just background. The only other downside to the book is the lack of a decent falling action/resolution moment. The book just kind of ends and doesn't really resolve everything. This is a good book for reluctant readers who like sports and/or have felt bullied because of sports.

Rating: 4/5

Thanks the NetGalley for the ARC.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Just One Friend

Just One Friend
by June Shaw, Brooke and Caroline Naquin

In This Place, you are allowed one friend and one friend only. Girls are forced to perform physical feats for the entertainment of the older women in order to determine if they will be good matches for sons. Fail at your demonstration and you will probably never be seen again.

Alabama Long is the best at what she does. She also has a dog who follows her everywhere, which helps when the women are watching her. Each evening, she goes home to her one friend: her grandmother.

When the Ruler calls Alabama in, it can't be good.

She's accused of having a second friend and she's forced to run with her grandmother to the land beyond the warning signs. A land that has far too many dangers, but none as dangerous as what she's leaving behind.

Can Alabama have everything she wants? Will she survive getting it?

Final thoughts:  What the heck!?!?! This is so poorly written! When I noticed that there were three authors, it actually made a little sense. It reads like a few people got on an online chat and took turns writing line after line. The whole thing is poorly paced, confusing, and lacks any kind of description. The Teller Boy has gray eyes. That's it. That's all we know. Seriously. Would it kill to have more than one adjective for people and things? Half the time, I had no idea what was going on because I'm one of those movie-maker readers and I couldn't make the movie because I had no descriptions to use to paint the images in my brain. The timeline was pretty horrid, too. They run for days, but it only takes hours to get back when they need to? Were they just running in tiny circles? What's going on with the desert and then the killing valley? WHY IS IT LIKE THIS?!?!!  Is this an alternate reality or a crazy dystopia? No fun. No sense. And definitely no recommendation.

Rating: 1/5

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Alpha Unleashed

Alpha Unleashed
by Aileen Erin

Just a few months after becoming a werewolf, Tessa is still figuring out how all her witch/were powers work, but she doesn't have time to keep studying. Luciana, the dark witch of coven Tessa had been chosen to lead, has gone completely demonic and is raising demons everywhere.

There is no more time to waste.

And there is nowhere to hide.

Luciana has even managed to reveal the existence of weres and witches to the human world, so Tessa now has to deal with that, as well.

The world has turned upside-down and Tessa's most recent vision of the future shows only destruction and the death of all she loves.

Now Tessa must find a way to change her visions before Luciana raises the final demons necessary to destroy the world.

Final thoughts: I read through all of the other books (2-4) in an effort to get to this one since it's a NetGalley ARC and hasn't yet been released. Overall, the series was decent. I didn't love everything about all of them and I was not a big fan of the fourth book, which followed Claudia instead of Tessa. However, I still liked most of what I read. I wish we'd had more character development over the series because the action was sometimes overwhelming. The final book seemed to drop in a TON of stuff in an effort to finish out this series quickly and not go to a sixth. Decent read throughout though quite a few typos in the galley that I hope they can clear up in the final publishing.

Rating: 3/5

Thanks to NetGalley for this ARC!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Becoming Alpha

Becoming Alpha
by Aileen Erin

Tessa has always been the "freak" of the family. She inherited her grandmother's strange ability to read the history of anything and anyone she touches. Touch a shirt and she knows it came from a sweat shop; she can even feel the heat and smell the sweat from when it was made. Touch a person and she knows their most intimate secrets.

She wants none of this. She wears gloves and keeps her distance to avoid getting any information she doesn't want.

When her family moves from Los Angeles to a small town in Texas, Tessa hopes that she can at least pretend to be normal again.  Maybe she could even make a friend.

What she doesn't count on is the gorgeous guy who, with one kiss gone terribly wrong, has changed her freakishness forever.

Now she has a whole new world of problems and they are just getting worse.

Final thoughts: A bit messy, but it drew me in. It felt disorganized at points with things being added in last minute to explain things that were going to happen in the next chapter. There was also the issue of no one talking to Tessa to really explain what was going on. It made her seem a bit whiny at times as she begged for explanations, but it also made sense for her to be that way.  Decent read and I'm going to try the next one to see if the series is worth it.

Rating: 3/5

Sunday, September 6, 2015

An Inheritance of Ashes

An Inheritance of Ashes
by Leah Bobet

The war is finally over and it appears that most of the soldiers have come home.  Except for Hal's brother-in-law and the father of her future niece. Hal and her sister, Marthe, wait each day for him to come down the road, and each day they are disappointed. 

Not only do they miss him terribly, but they miss the manpower he brings to their failing farm. It is all that the two girls have after their abusive father finally died, and they are struggling to hold on to it.

When a stranger with strange tales of the war appears at the farm, looking for a place to hole up for the winter, Hal accepts him and all of the secrets he holds.

But he brings more than secrets with him. He brings back the Twisted Things that were thought to be destroyed with the Wicked God at the end of the war. 

And he brings back something else... 

Final thoughts:
This was a confused mess. It started as a new world built that seemed pretty decent, but it feels like Bobet realized about halfway through that she was using terms that were more earth bound, so she kind of tacked on a dystopian element. Suddenly it wasn't a new world, but rather our world a hundred or so years in the future with the occasional curse word, gun, or even failing bridge to mention. That element was so poorly thrown in that it really hurt the whole book. I liked some of the ideas, but the overall effect was not done well.

Rating: 2/5

Received an ARC from NetGalley for an honest review.


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